City Hall Confidential
The Associated Community Action Program (ACAP) has been in the news of late after allegations of “gross mismanagement of funds and willful misconduct” from program employees led to the termination of the program’s married executive director and grants writer. The 35-year old program is now being dissolved while the Alameda County District Attorney’s office decides whether to investigate the allegations.
The program’s governing board, which was suppose to provide oversight of the public/private non-profit, has met only twice in the past 15 months due to its inability to reach a quorum of its members. The board includes a representative from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors (Nate Miley stepped aside on Tuesday) and representatives from Alameda County cities, including Alameda. Alameda’s representative – like representatives from other cities on the board – has not been attending the ACAP meetings, but it’s unclear why. The answer, as well as ACAP’s inability to provide it, point to the very organizational issues that appear to be bringing the once lauded program down.
ACAP staff show Alameda’s seat as “vacant” as of March 2011, and list Mayor Marie Gilmore as the representative in February of this year.
But city records detailing the council’s membership on regional boards show that Councilman Doug deHaan has represented Alameda at ACAP since 2006.
San Leandro Councilwoman Diana Souza, who became the ACAP board president just as the problems with the program began surfacing in February, said that she remembers “someone from Alameda” attending a meeting in 2010, but that she couldn’t remember who it was. She said that when she became board president, she instructed ACAP staff to e-mail meeting announcements to the mayors of cities whose representatives were listed as “vacant.”
Gilmore says that she met with ACAP staff shortly after becoming mayor and that during the meeting, the staff had asked her to appoint someone to fill Alameda’s seat. Shortly after that meeting, Gilmore acknowledged receiving the February meeting announcements, but had assumed they were a courtesy mailing that she received as the new mayor.
It’s not clear whether ACAP’s staff ever alerted deHaan or Alameda city staff about meetings over the past year, which may explain not only Alameda’s lack of attendance, but many other cities’ as well. DeHaan did not
respond to multiple requests for comment regarding this story. Former Councilman Tony Daysog, who left the board when he termed out of his council seat, said his nine-year experience on the ACAP was positive and that he loved being involved.
“I was very enthusiastic about ACAP,” Daysog said, express
ing disappointment that the program had become so problem-ridden in the last five years.
SunCal sues again
SunCal has filed a new federal case against the City of Alameda, asking for $1 million in pretrial damages. The developer is suggesting in court documents that the city and
Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, who is named as a defendant, purposely destroyed documents that were germane to likely legal action over the development of Alameda Point.
The filing builds on SunCal’s
earlier public records lawsuit, and includes testimony from depositions taken in that lawsuit. In the attached depositions, Gallant and other key staff admit to not following the city’s document retention procedures — procedures which are being challenged in the public records case — and not retaining key planning and other documents . SunCal’s claim states that these actions, even if unintentional, have caused undue harm to the developer’s ability to prove their case in the $100 million breach of contract lawsuit they have also filed in federal court and they say they are due financial recourse.
The filing brings
the number of lawsuits that SunCal has brought against Alameda to three. The case is currently scheduled for a case management conference in mid-May.
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